The CDC Is Ending Country-Specific, COVID-Related Travel Advisories

But with one exception

Barcelona, Catalinia, Spain, La Rambla
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The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) quietly eschewed its list of country-specific COVID-19 travel health notices—but not for reasons you might think.

According to Reuters reporting, the CDC removed COVID-19-specific travel health advisories since “fewer countries are testing or reporting COVID-19 cases,” affecting the “CDC’s ability to accurately assess the COVID-19 [travel health notice] levels for most destinations that American travelers visit.”

In November 2020, the agency bumped up its usual three-tier travel health notice system to four tiers. The system advised that all travelers to low-risk, Level 1 destinations be vaccinated, whereas Level 2 signified a moderate COVID-19 risk and cautioned those who were unvaccinated to avoid non-essential travel. Unvaccinated people were also warned against visiting Level 3, high-risk destinations under any circumstances. Level 4, the highest-risk level, advised everyone, whether vaccinated or not, to avoid traveling to these areas. 

This past April, the CDC returned to the three-tier system, reserving Level 4 health travel notices for exceptionally high levels of COVID-19 transmission. At the time, Level 4 labels were used to denote countries that had 500 cases per 100,000 people; several Level 4 countries had lower transmission and positivity rates than the U.S. itself. 

From now on, the CDC says it will only issue COVID-19-specific travel health notices “if a situation, such as a concerning COVID-19 variant, is identified that changes CDC travel recommendations for that country." Otherwise, the agency’s COVID-19 travel health notices will be treated in the same vein as other concerning infectious diseases, such as outbreaks of Ebola, yellow fever, or measles. 

Additional travel warning advisories can be found on the U.S. Department of State travel advisory list, and the World Health Organization provides an interactive map of current reported COVID-19 cases around the world. Currently, the CDC recommends that all travelers be fully up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccines, including any eligible boosters.

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  1. Reuters. "US CDC Ends Country-Specific COVID Travel Health Notices." October 3, 2022.

  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Covid-19 Travel Health Notice Levels and Testing for International Travelers." November 22, 2022.